Year in Review 2020, Biggest Sports Stories: Liverpool become Premier League champions after 30 years
Liverpool's route to becoming league winners started with the appointment of Jurgen Klopp followed by a few shrewd transfers and academy producing scintillating talents.
Editor's Note: It's that time of the year already. Every end comes with an opportunity to look back and reflect, and while 2020, by general consensus, was a forgettable affair, sports did manage to conjure some moments of lasting relevance. From Liverpool ending their Premier League title wait to the mighty Indian cricket team crashing like never before in Adelaide to the passing away of some of sports' all-time greats, the field of play, even in a truncated calendar, produced a fair share of shock, surprise, and awe. In Firstpost's latest series, we take a look at some of the biggest sporting moments of 2020.
The date was 9 October 2015. Newly appointed Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was giving his first press conference. He said: “If I sit here in four years, I am pretty confident we will have one title.”
The date was 25 June, 2020. Klopp's Liverpool became Premier League champions.
It took Klopp close to five years to win the league title. His team had already won the Champions League in 2019 – four years since he promised of winning 'one title'. Four or five years, it doesn't matter. What matters is that Liverpool, one of English football's most gloried teams, ended a run of 30 years to win a league title. According to the BBC Sport, the 30-year wait for their 19th title was equal to 103,410 minutes of football, 239 players, and £1.47 billion spent on transfers.
"I have no words," Klopp told Sky Sports after Chelsea beat Manchester City which confirmed Liverpool as champions.
"It's the best thing I can imagine and more than I could have ever dreamed of. It's unbelievable. Much more than I ever thought would be possible. It is an incredible achievement from my players... and a pure joy for me to coach them."
'It's for our supporters, it's for you out there.' ❤🏆
Jurgen Klopp joins Sky Sports live after Liverpool were crowned Premier League champions! 🔴🔥
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) June 25, 2020
The route to the league title started with the appointment of Klopp followed by a few shrewd transfers and club's academy producing scintillating talents. Players like Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker came in with a big price tag but were worth every penny. Academy graduate and right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold became a star thanks to his exploits from the wing. Andy Robertson came to the club for an initial fee of just £8 million but developed into a world-class player. Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Roberto Firmino became a fierce attacking force. Skipper Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Fabinho hardly had bad days at work while versatile James Milner provided the much need push when the team needed it. Not to forget the contributions from the likes Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
This phenomenal bunch was playing football at its peak.
But what made this squad tick and deliver the trophies were Klopp and his team of coaches. Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola assembled a dream team and they showed their class by breaking the 100-point barrier in the 2017-18 season and then defended the title next year, pipping Liverpool by just one point.
To stop City, Liverpool knew that they needed to pull off the extraordinary. So Klopp made his team so relentless in their pursuit of the league glory that they ended up winning 32 matches out of 38. A break due to the pandemic hampered their form but before that, by February it was clear the Liverpool will lift the trophy.
From 1960s to the late 80s, Liverpool were a force to be reckoned with. The 90s and 2000s saw a decline although Liverpool kept winning trophies except for the league title. For millions of fans around the globe, every league season used to begin with a question: 'Is this Liverpool's year?'
Klopp and his special set of players finally answered that question in 2020. They became champions in a year of the pandemic, so the celebration was not the same without fans. But Klopp promised a party when the situation improves, and Klopp is not one to break promises.
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